About Kingdom Awakening Apprenticeship

My photo
South Oroville, CA, United States
Kingdom Awakening Apprenticeship is aimed towards individuals who desire to know more about the Living God and expanding their expectation of who He is and who they are as sons and daughters of God. The environment of the apprenticeship is community and discipleship to help students understand their role in the Kingdom of God and how it relates to the neighborhood in which we live. We are compelled by the words of Jesus to His disciples: “as my Father has sent me, I am sending you.” We are committed to develop willing people who have the passion to see a generation move towards true love, true hope, and true faith.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Meet Alisa

Meet Alisa!

Favorite Color:

To ride bikes (only nice cruiser-style bikes, though!)

Yukslav, Russia

What She Does:
Alisa is of the newest wave of students in Kingdom Awakening’s Core School(a). She is in class every morning, and volunteers at Re*stored(b), a ministry of the Father’s House, every afternoon and weekend.

            We are so incredibly rich to have Alisa as a participant of Kingdom Awakening Apprenticeship! Bringing life and sunshine wherever she goes, Alisa changes a little more every day, and we get to witness those changes first hand every day! How lucky are we?

            Alisa’s life reached a critical point a little over a year ago when she found herself in jail, addicted, and all around down-and-out. Living a life of utter hell, and terrible disappointments, Alisa know she couldn’t provide herself with the help she needed to get her life back on track.

“I knew I needed Jesus!” she told us, “so when I was in jail I began to look for a faith based rehabilitation program.”

            She heard about Life Recovery Ministries (LRM), a recovery program sponsored through The Father’s House, while she was in jail and knew that was the one for her! Alisa waited for a spot to open, and when it did, she was picked up from jail and placed in one of our women’s recovery homes. Right away, the behavior of the people involved in The Father’s House, took Alisa of guard—in a good way!

She expressed genuinely and with incredible conviction, “The love in this place is AMAZING! People here really are family and there’s [no doubt.] I feel so loved!”

            From beginning of her time here, Alisa wasn’t shy about announcing her desire to participate in Kingdom Awakening Apprenticeship upon her graduation of LRM.

“I just really wanted to learn how to hear God’s voice,” Alisa explained, “I thought that maybe I’d heard him before, but I just wanted to be sure.”

            And we wanted Alisa in Kingdom Awakening so badly we admitted her to enroll before she fully graduated from LRM! So not only is Alisa completing the class work and independent studies of Core School and volunteering at Re*Stored, she is also maintaining all the requirements of a client of LRM as well. 
          Alisa is a joy and a delight and it’s a pleasure working with her, seeing her learn more and more about the nature of God’s extravagant love for her!

a Core School is the first six months of Kingdom Awakening Apprenticeship, directed at individuals who are hungry to go deeper in their relationship with the living God and who desire to understand the love he possesses for them. For more information, check out our website.  http://www.kingdomawakening.com

b Re*stored Second Hand Boutique is Oroville's best Secondhand Store with great selection and a great atmosphere that will give you a new experience in the world of "Thrift". Proceeds go to fund Life Recovery Ministries and is staffed by clients from that program. For more information, here’s there blog address: http://restoredoroville.wordpress.com/

Friday, October 21, 2011

Meet Joe!

Yazoo City, Mississippi

Favorite Color:

Favorite Food:

What he does:
Joe is a recent graduate of Kingdom Awakening Apprenticeship and is now on staff at  The Father’s House working full time as a house leader for Rehab clients. He is also the director of the church’s “visiting in person” ministry and leads many teams per week out  into the city of Oroville to visit the elderly, the sick, the homeless, and members of the community in their homes. 

Joe hard at work on a recent outreach to Burien, WA
Ladies and Gentlemen, this guy is the REAL DEAL! Joe Bestwick is the definition of a life that’s been transformed! Want to see the power of what a life surrendered to Jesus can produce? Joe is the PROOF of the existence of a living and breathing God, who is not only interested but INVESTED in the lives of his kids!

            A mere five years ago, Joe reached the pinnacle of his hopelessness. With no place to live, and horribly lost in addiction to alcohol and hard drugs, Joe was left with no option other that to live under a bridge. 

 “I was completely lost—putting needles in my arms every day.” Joe will tell anyone who wants to know. “I was totally broken.”  

Unaware of the potential hidden inside of him, and having nothing to live for, Joe was set on the fact that life simple was what it was. He never expected anything to change—but Jesus had other plans! 

 Through a series of events, Joe stumbled into Life Recovery Ministries, and set out on the adventure of a lifetime! Although there were many things that Joe learned in his time in the program, he’s not shy to say that the greatest thing he learned was how to have a relationship with Jesus—and that it wasn’t always easy.

Joe and Senior Pastor, Vicki Orsillo
 “God put leaders in my life here, and I had to learn to follow them by example,” Joe said, “and it’s through following those leaders that I have learned how to follow Jesus.” 

After his graduation from Life Recovery Ministries, Joe dove head first into internship and then into Kingdom Awakening Apprenticeship.

 Since his enrolment in Kingdom Awakening, his relationship with Jesus has continued to grow, as well as the understanding of who God says he is. “Our relationship right now looks great!” Joe told us, “He loves me and I love Him—I’m the son of the living God!”

 These words of Joe’s, that he’s the son of the living God, are so much more than mere words! He puts them into action every day by giving his life away to the people around him and continuing to submit himself to the leaders God has placed in his life!

 We love you, Joe!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Luke Pollock

Luke Pollock

Favorite Color:

Favorite Food:
Fish and Chips (only from England, though)

Preston, Lancashire, England

What we love about Luke:
His laid back personality, his innate ability to always have something encouraging to say, his wise-crack jokes about “speaking properly,” and his willingness to give his life away and serve the people around him.

        In our opinion, Luke is the definition of “all in Christianity.” Who just gets onto a plane and flies to a different country with no guarantee of what exactly is going to happen or how they will be provided for? Luke does! He is a man of selfless faith and of loving compassion, giving away all of himself just to ensure the success of the people beside him. From professed atheist stuck in the vicious cycle of rejection, to spirit filled believer that loves not only himself but everyone around him, Luke’s story is one that couldn’t go unshared any longer!

        Born with a physical disability of one arm being under-developed, Luke’s life growing up was less than a walk in the park. Not only did he have to learn to do things differently than his peers so that he could cope, at a very young age came to the conclusion he was simply “different” from the rest of his friends.

“I wasn’t able to do all the things that the other kids could do, and that made me struggle with rejection.” Luke told us candidly.

        Growing up, although Luke’s parents were split up, he saw them both regularly. He lived with his mother, and he saw his father regularly on the weekends. Luke also has an older brother who is eight years older than himself.

Luke reminisced, “I didn’t grow up in a Christian home—I [actually] would have classified myself as an atheist, because I didn’t understand how there could be a God who loved me, yet created me the way he did. I never really gave any thought to Christianity or any other religion for that matter.”

        In school, Luke always did really well and pulled straight A’s throughout his schooling career. He poured himself into books and reading, and into art as well as creative media. 

“Because there were many things I couldn’t do, I put myself into things I KNEW I was good at—[I think] that was lots of the time me making up for the inadequacies that I felt I had.”

Also in his school years, Luke had a small circle of close friends and didn’t go much outside of that with people he wanted to spend time with.

He told us, “It was always hard to accept that people actually liked me and that it wasn’t out of pity or charity.”

        Despite Luke’s opinion of God and who he perceived him to be, he begun hanging out with a young man named Jamie, who’s mother attended a local church. Although Jamie himself wasn’t a follower of Jesus, the foundation and curiosity of Christianity began to be sparked in Luke’s heart. After becoming good friends, Jamie invited Luke to come with him to a Christian conference in England called “Soul Survivor*,” telling Luke that he didn’t want to be alone “with all of those Christians.”

“I consented, not knowing what Soul Survivor actually entailed!” Luke remembered. “I thought it was mostly going to be a campout, and a hang out, but it ended up being more than that!”

        On the third of five days of this event, after watching thousands of people worshipping and having experiences with this “Jesus” that Luke had never really thought much about, his curiosity was peaked. Suddenly, he wanted to know if there was anything real about Jesus, or the experiences people were having with Him. The call to the front to receive prayer was made, and Luke responded.
Luke at Soul Survivor in 2010 with a group of his friends.

“I don’t even remember what I went forward for, or what the people that were praying for me were saying” Luke said, “All I know is that as I went forward, I kept in my own head telling God, ‘if you’re real, let me feel you.’”

Luke’s prayer was answered when he found himself regaining consciousness about five minutes later, lying on the floor. That being the proof Luke needed of God’s reality, He said, “Okay, God, since you’re real, I guess I’ll follow you for awhile’”

        At first, Luke’s Christianity was based more off of a curiosity to learn more about this God he had encountered at Soul Survivor, and of relationship with the people at the church he started attending (Jamie’s mother’s church!) rather than a dramatic life change. After a couple of months, though, Luke made the decision to go all in with God! What started as simply volunteering in Children’s ministry at his home church, turned quickly into a year long internship!

“Through that whole process, my perception of myself changed massively!” Luke recounted. “I realized that just because of a disability, it didn’t alter my worth or me being a man at all. I [recognized] the truth was it wasn’t people really rejecting me, but was me rejecting myself.”

        Also in that time of Luke’s life, he said that he started to gain the ability to care about people and in turn actually stated to love and value others—

“Because I was able to love and value myself.” Luke told us.

        In the midst of his new found salvation, the main prayer he prayed was “God, break my heart for what breaks yours.”

“Through this prayer, eventually God gave me a heart for broken and hurting people, which make me want to learn inner healing, so I began to!”

        As his internship came to an end, the church that Luke had been serving at told him that they would like to pay for him to go on a mission trip somewhere in the world. At that time, he was planning on attending university to receive a degree in counseling, so Luke wanted to go to a place where he could put his passion of inner healing and wise counsel into practice.

“I could have gone to a number of places on my trip, but through the Partners In Harvest** network, I found The Father’s House Church in Oroville, California and thought the ministry there would be a perfect fit for where my life was headed... So I decided to visit!”

        Luke was only in Oroville for a short six weeks during his visit, but that was long enough to absolutely fall in love with Oroville as well as the community of people here. At the end of his stay, he was offered a position at the church, and after going back home and talking to Jesus about coming back and serving at The Father’s House, he began to feel more and more like it was the right decision. The rest was history!

“I started to apply for the visa [to come to the US], and God provided that as well as the money I needed to be here...” Luke told us. He continued, “Then I got on a plane and here I am!”
Luke and good friend, Ryan posing it up!

        Since his move back, Luke has been made head of the media department, which utilizes his skills in creativity and graphic design. He also has undertaken lots of inner healing, which as we know is his passion. He meets with up to eight guys in our Life Recovery Ministries program (a residential, Christ-based rehabilitation program for men and women seeking freedom from drug and alcohol abuse) a week, and there are countless testimonies of freedom in people’s lives being due to the time Luke has devoted to them in inner healing.

“I came out here really wanting to grow in the healing of the heart and I asked God for the opportunity. It came in more abundance than I anticipated.” Luke confessed. “[Inner healing to those in recovery] is challenging and real!”

        But Luke is the first to say that the reward of seeing freedom in the lives of the men he ministers to far outweighs the difficulty and the cost of sometimes having people walk away from our ministry, and worst, their recovery.

“The cost is hard to put into words. It’s hard to create emotional relationship with clients just to have them leave, knowing they’re still hurting and suffering and wanting to help them but not being able to. The thing that keeps me going, though is seeing the transformation in people. Although it hurts, God has showed to me that my heart is growing and my capacity to love has increased, and that mourning isn’t unhealthy, it just shows that my heart is open.”

        How did we get so lucky that of all of the places Luke could have come, that he would have come here, to sunny but little Oroville, California? Luke is not only a breath of fresh air, but a life changer, and a trail blazer. Luke is a man that CAN be followed, and is a hero of our ministry!

        On a slightly sillier note, Luke asked that a blurb of life as an English man in America could be put into his blog. So here it is, a direct quote from Luke Pollock of Preston, Lancashire, England, himself, with words spelled “properly,” and everything.

Silly photo-shopped picture Luke made of himself and the Queen.
“Things have “flavour,” not flavor—and green is a “colour,” not color. I have never heard the words, “Hecka,” “Ghetto,” or “Bojankity” as adjectives. The word “process” is pronounced “proh-cess,” not “praaaah-cess,” and the last letter of the alphabet is pronounced “zed,” but the black and white neighing creature is still called a “zebra.”

“I enjoy immensely the American grammar and words, and find myself, to my amusement, that I’m actually starting to speak that way. Although I won’t admit it out loud, I secretly enjoy the culture I’m taking on, I just don’t see myself letting go of my English roots any time soon. My hope one day is that Southside will sound like England.”

All joking aside, Luke thank you for all you do, we love and appreciate you!

* Soul Survivor is a five day event where thousands of young people gather together to meet with God in various locations all over the world, but mostly in the United Kingdom. For more information on this event, check out their website. http://www.soulsurvivor.com/

** Partners in Harvest is the denomination that The Father’s House Church as well as Luke’s Church, The Well Church, is affiliated with. For more information, feel free to visit their website. http://www.partnersinharvest.org/

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chris Renfrow

Chris Renfrow

Favorite Food:                         
Tri Tip

Favorite Place:             
Santa Cruz

Favorite Color:            

What we love about Chris:       
We LOVE Chris’s “sunny disposition.” When Chris is around, you have to try REALLY hard to stay in a bad mood. He always has a smile on his face that we know is a reflection of the joy he feels in his heart. :)

Chris serving one of his friends from the "old days" at an outreach event.

            Chris Renfrow, presently enrolled in our CIA, or “Core In Action”* program of Kingdom Awakening Apprenticeship, is a guy who incredibly easy to love. The way that he conducts himself, and the way that he has chosen to live his life brings inspiration to those around him, in fact—he leads many without even realizing it. His style of leadership is that of love and of humility. Chris is a leader by example, and many will attest to this! When he walks into a room, you hear adoring hoots of “RENFROW!” being shouted in his direction, and when he hears people greet him in this manner, you could light a room with the sheer joy that beams off of his face.

            Chris’ “before and after” Jesus testimony is so incredibly life changing, we HAD to share it!

            Growing up, Chris told us, life wasn’t too great. The first few years of his life, Chris resided in Riverside, California with his mother and father. At a mere five years old, Chris’ mother and father split up, and Chris and his mother moved to Alabama. While in Alabama, Chris’ mom remarried a man that wreaked havoc and abuse onto herself and Chris for years.

            At around eight years, Chris’ mother took Chris and returned to California. Upon her return, she remarried Chris’ father. It was at this point that Chris and his mother and father moved to the Concow, California.

“I was in about 7th grade when we moved from the city to the country,” Chris remembered, “That’s when I started drinking.”

            With little to no exposure of right and wrong, and hardly any understanding of what living a hope filled life could look like, Chris began associating himself with the “wrong crowd.” He started partying every weekend, and began to smoke marijuana. By the time Chris got to High School, he had begun to use methamphetamine, and was drinking heavily before and after classes.

            Chris’ behavior continued to tailspin, which eventually got him in trouble with the law, and it was at this point his mother had no choice but to place Chris into a group home in Quincy.

“That group home wasn’t equipped to change me.” Chris told us “I was still going out and partying with my friends [the whole time I was there.]”

            When he had reached eighteen years of age, the group home told him it was time to move on, and Chris moved back in with his mother. He continued drinking and using heavily. Just a year or two later, Chris’ parents again divorced and Chris moved to the bay area with his father and brother. 

“My Father was a heavy drinker,” Chris recounted, “so we would party together… and that continued for years.”

            Some time later, Chris moved back to the Oroville area, not far from the “Concow” of his adolescence. He spent his time there at first living with his friends, taking whatever work he could find—the wages of which went entirely to supporting his addictions. Not long after his move back, Chris met a girl named Kim.

“It was not really a good relationship,” Chris told us. “We basically met through drinking and through using.”

            Chris and Kim spent some time together, and in that time had two children together. Because of their continued addiction, CPS eventually got involved in the affairs of their children, and their children were lost into the system. As hard as they tried to get themselves cleaned up and to get their kids back, Chris and Kim were unable to stop their addictions. They were given chance after chance to gain their children back, but Kim and Chris continued to test positive for their court ordered drug tests.

            Much to the dismay of Kim and Chris, their children were eventually adopted out. Kim coped with this reality by joining Life Recovery Ministries, here at The Father’s House Church—resigned to get her life straight. Chris dealt with his pain the only way he knew how, through drinking and using. This continued, until Chris was charged with a charge of driving under the influence—which was the last allowable charge before he would have to serve prison time.

“I was facing six years,” Chris confessed.

            It was at this point, the desperation to change his life started to set into Chris. Seeing the effect that Life Recovery Ministries had had on Kim, Chris came straight into the program after receiving his DUI before he even spoke to his probation officer.

“I wanted to change, but I was still very iffy about the program—I’d been to plenty of programs,” Chris told us. But he continued, “I just wanted to give up everything and how I tried to control my life—which was completely out of control.”

            Regardless of his reservations, Chris joined Life Recovery Ministries anyways, and began to humble himself and allow himself to be led by men that had come through similar situations to him.

            He remembered, “I just kind of gave my life to the Lord and went with it. I followed my leaders, and dug into God’s word, because I literally knew NOTHING about Jesus.” And since Chris’ commitment to Life Recovery Ministries, and beginning to fall in love with Jesus, literally everything has changed.

Chris told us, “When I first came in, I was looking forward to getting in and going out and getting a drink. People here have had the same problems—got to the point when I was out on pass and people were drinking, I remembered the hangover and the crap that I went through. Having enough time in a good atmosphere helped get me past the whole addiction part of it. It was pretty miraculous. I just felt safe here.”

            When his year was up in Life Recovery Ministries, he clearly heard God say he needed to stay around The Father’s House Church. The opportunity of Kingdom Awakening Apprenticeship’s Core School came up, and Chris felt God’s tugging on his heart to want to enroll in the program, so he did! And the rest was history!

            When asked about what he’s gained in his time in the apprenticeship, Chris’ response was,

“The biggest thing I’ve learned in my time here is how to love and be selfless. The whole ‘giving your life away’ thing seemed like some kind of scam or something… I was very selfish… I just cared about me, me—but the opportunity to love on people and to receive love (I always felt like there was something attached) is just amazing!”

            And no doubt about it-- Chris loves people. Pure and simple. This is undeniably obvious in all areas of his life. Jesus tells us in John 15 that we will know a tree by its fruit, and the fruit of Chris Renfrow’s life today speaks volumes of the incredible, integral man of God that He is today.

            Chris Renfrow, you are positively invaluable to us! We love you heaps!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ryan Kelly

Ryan James Kelly

Ryan "Cheesin' it" In some California sunshine.

Elgin, Illinois 
(And, folks, he would like to clarify… He is a CUBS fan!)

Favorite Place:
The West Coast

Favorite Quote:
"I cannot live in mediocrity, content with merely knowing that there is more of God to experience and explore--and then do nothing about it"
-Bill Johnson, Face to Face with God

What We Love About Ryan:
We LOVE Ryan’s quirky sense of humor, his passion for Baseball and the Cubs, (or his “Cubbies” as he lovingly refers to them) his loyalty to his friends and family, (Ryan may very easily be one of the most dependable people we know) as well his undeniable desire to be a man set apart from the rest of the world!

What sets you apart? What is it that makes you different from the rest of the world? Are you living a life where you are a light that’s “hidden under a basket,” as the gospels say? Or do you fall more into the “light of the world” category? Whatever your response may be in answer to these questions, we are here to tell you that the latter is not an unreachable goal. To be a “city on a hill that cannot be hidden,” or to be someone worthy of following, of depending upon, is no easy task—but it is doable. We know because we see it exemplified every day, through individuals that have heard the call of God and are unwilling to settle for anything less than how He’s called them to live. Ryan Kelly is one of these individuals we have the pleasure of serving alongside of!

Have you ever met someone that was just… different from anyone you’ve ever known? A person who for some reason you couldn’t quite put your finger on, naturally drew people to themselves? Ryan describes one of these people to a “T!” His life brings inspiration and meaning to many, and his love for others sparks an unmistakable, “Hey! I’ve never felt anything like that before!” Ryan will give anything to anyone to ensure his or her comfort and happiness—even if it’s the shirt off of his own back, and it’s obvious he loves to do it!

Ryan and his twin brother, Justin, (Who Ryan would like us to tell you, is awesome.) were born in Illinois in July of 1988. In reminiscing about his upbringing, Ryan tells us that life was relatively ordinary.  

Ryan and his twin brother, Justin at their High School Graduation

“I was a normal kid. Normal life. Normal friends,” But after a moment of deliberation he recanted, “Well, normal for me… I definitely had my hurts and my issues.”

He always had exposure to church and to God, as Ryan had been baptized catholic at a very young age, then confirmed Lutheran in 1997, but that was about the extent of how he related to Father God.
“…I had a vague idea of who He was, but didn’t really know or care to let it change my life.” Ryan told us very plainly. “[Christianity] wasn’t ever a strict thing and standards were never kept in the home, so it wasn’t something I could model myself after.”

At the age of three, Ryan’s parents divorced. Although she remarried a few years later, it was mainly just the influence of his mother that contributed in Ryan’s upbringing. He saw his father sporadically through his childhood, mainly weekends and in the summer if anything and this had a very dramatic effect on young Ryan.

“My Dad [wasn’t really] around a lot and that caused me to harden my heart and not trust fatherly figures… it became “normal” to me for them to not be there.”

Although he never saw it in the home, Ryan's parents both struggled with drug addiction while he was growing up. Seeing the way it governed the life of his mother and father, Ryan resolved at a very young age that he would live in a different kind of way.

"I never wanted to do drugs, and I wanted to be responsible [with my life]." Ryan told us.

And responsible, Ryan remained! He was heavily involved in sports all throughout the extent of his schooling-- playing basketball, football, and of course, baseball. In addition to that, Ryan was an excellent student, pulling good grades and devoting time to his studies. He had many friends in High School, not faithful to one specific clique. Also, because of his determination at a young age to live a life set apart from what he knew, Ryan never got involved with the “party scene,” but kept diligently plugging away at his schoolwork.

“I was a good kid… loved by everyone, but I was REALLY shy and held back.” Ryan recollected.

            Despite his success at his school and in his resolutions, there was still pain that was buried deep inside of Ryan’s heart from the absence of his father in his life. This pain had no recognizable way of being seen except a residual feeling of emotional apathy that Ryan often experienced. During his interview, Ryan thought back to a memory where that numbness was undoubtedly experienced:

“I remember for High School graduation, my mom threw us [my brother and I] a party, and my dad was going to throw one as well. When we showed up for his party, everyone was there except for Him-- But I wasn’t hurt, which was odd. I didn’t care at the time… well, I did, but thought that I didn’t, because I was used to it.”

            Ryan, stuck in the rut of indifference and “normalcy,” kept plugging away at his life, unsure if he would ever experience something truly real. The love of God was hot on his heels, though! His junior year of High School, one of his buddies, John, invited Ryan to come to church with him. Ryan consented, and when he went was hit by the reality of how genuine, and unmistakably different the people there were.

            Given Ryan’s background of church, he was taken aback by the love these people had for God.
“[I encountered] people who were hungry and passionate for God. This was odd!” and went on to tell us, “Worship wasn’t out of a hymnal, and wasn’t boring!”

As he continued in his recollection of his first experience in this church, he disclosed that it was in this “un-boring” time of worship that he first encountered that something different he’d been searching for his whole life. The feeling of community that he felt there, and seeing the people around him experience the love of God led Ryan to keep going back.

            Just a couple months later, Ryan accepted Jesus into his heart—led by his friend, John, as he was dropping Ryan off after a service. As he remembered this experience, Ryan stated,
“I didn’t even know the extent to what had happened then … but um… something changed. I didn’t talk the same—I stopped swearing. I started hanging out with different friends, started going to church… I started loving Jesus.”

            After this, Ryan’s life was never the same. He attended the International House of Prayer sponsored “One Thing” conference three years in a row, began leading worship at local houses of prayer, and for the first time in his life had found something worth being truly devoted to. He recalled giddily, “I was so passionate at first! Oooh! I loved it!”

            After High School, Ryan attended community college and obtained a two-year degree in Business and Criminal Justice. “I thought I wanted to be a police officer,” Ryan told us, “But I was also leading worship at the House of Prayer, so I thought I might want to go into ministry as well.” Finally, He took this decision to Jesus and see what HE had to say about it.

“I was praying in church one day, ‘God, where do you want me to go?’ The immediate thought that came to my head was, ‘Toronto.’ —This was before I knew how to hear the voice of the Lord.” He told us. He continued his story: “So I said, ‘Hm…Toronto, that sounds cool, I wonder what’s in Toronto?’ So I went home and Googled ministry schools in Toronto, and came across The School of Ministry** in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I knew absolutely nothing about Toronto or the history of revival or anything, but I saw the website and really wanted to go. I applied and was accepted.”
With some team mates at a School of Ministry Outreach.

            During his five month stint in Toronto, Ryan was impacted in many ways, mainly through community and being a part of a group of people all going after God and seeking His heart. In School of Ministry, Ryan gained many new mindsets and revelations of Father God, as well as began the process of gaining healing in his heart. Ryan explained, “It began a new journey, of being, ‘born again,’ knowing that there’s more than I’ve experienced or ever known.”  Also, partnered with the healing taking place in Ryan’s heart, God began to reveal to him how “fearfully and wonderfully made” he truly is. Ryan told us, “The biggest thing I learned [at School of Ministry] was to “just be.” That you were created to be yourself, and if you’re not going to be you, no one else is going to be you for you!”

            When Ryan’s time in Toronto started to come to an end, he began asking God again what was next. In his last weeks at School of Ministry, a team that came to Oroville on outreach gave testimonies about their time here and the lives that were impacted. It was during this time of testimonies that Ryan felt a tug on his heart.
“I felt something stir inside of me and I thought, ‘I WANT TO GO THERE!’ I don’t even know what was said, [all I know] is there was just… something stirred up.”
            Wanting to be certain He was following God’s will, Ryan returned home to Elgin after School of Ministry had concluded. Still was unsure of what to do, Ryan brought it again before Father God. Determined to get a clear “go here,” or “do this,” Ryan sought out an answer.

“I was so much about ‘tell me what to do clearly, and I’ll follow you,’” Ryan confessed, “But God wouldn’t give me a specific answer! The only thing basically was that He told me to follow my heart, choose where I wanted to go and go, for He was with me wherever I went. And it was in the unknown where he is often found.”

            The revelation of God being with him wherever he went, coupled with the draw of being apart of community again, (Ryan already knew some people here from his time spent at School of Ministry) Ryan’s heart ended up leading him to Oroville to participate in Kingdom Awakening Apprenticeship!  And we are just about the luckiest people ever to have a guy like Ryan around! Ryan is in charge of all the worship and sound for church services, is full time kid’s department. Also, he has developed and leads our brand new EVOLVE ministry, which is directed at 10-13 yr olds, causing them to go deeper into who God is and who they are. In addition, he is a regular worship leader, and helps to feed hundreds of people a week through our weekly food bank.

Ryan has recently signed on for year three of Kingdom Awakening Apprenticeship, and we can say with one hundred percent conviction that Ryan has transformed into a completely different human being than he was when he came!

“What have I learned in my time with Kingdom Awakening? Lots!” He went on to say, “The biggest thing I learned is that God is not hype, and He isn’t a conference… Relationship with God is about day in, day out, one choice at a time. I’ve learned that a standard is worth keeping, that Jesus IS Christianity, He IS what matters, and love IS what matters. I’ve learned about following and submission and how huge that is. If I can’t follow and submit to a man that I can see, then I can’t follow and submit to God that I can’t see.”

And this change in Ryan, although he may not see it right away, drastically affects many people in his life!
“I don’t always see the immediate change, it’s so much easier to see it when you’re looking from the outside in, then from the inside out. But I know there’s change because I don’t think the same, and I don’t live the same!” Pride gleaming in his eyes, Ryan continued, “My family even sees it. Whenever I go back and visit, they know something’s different about me. They’re proud of me, and they see that I’m going after something worth going after.”

The first born again Christian in his family, Ryan has been blazing a trail for them without even realizing it! Since his conversion, his Mother, Father, and Brother have all come into relationship with Jesus. “I may not have led them personally to the Lord,” Ryan told us, “But I think my choices helped them to see something different.”

When asked what he dreams about, Ryan says simply this… He dreams about impacting people and having people look up to him. He dreams about being a man that can be followed, and someone people will say lived like Jesus did. 

Ryan ministering to some children at a weekly kid's service.

“I want to be known as a big ball of love!” Ryan declared to us. He said it with a laugh, but we know that he meant it with his heart. “Seriously, I dream about affecting people, traveling, and going crazy places-- I just want to do missions stuff, really. I want to visit every place I possibly can in the world at least once. I want to see people impacted by God through me, and know that he’s real.”

            Many people have ALREADY been changed by the love that spills out from Ryan onto others, and he is still touching lives every day! Jesus tells us that all men will know we are his disciples by the love that we show to one another, and it is people like Ryan Kelly that epitomize what Jesus is talking about here!

Ryan Kelly, this world is a better place because of people like you! You inspire us and we love you!

**Toronto School of Ministry is a five-month program dedicated to encountering the love of God and learning how to give it away to the world. For more information, check out their website. http://som.catchthefire.com